VTech Gets Hacked, Apple Hates Headphone Jacks… [Tech News Digest]
Hackers expose VTech users, Apple considers removing the headphone jack, Christmas lights can slow down your Wi-Fi, Snapchat gets into bed with (RED), and remembering The Star Wars Holiday Special.
VTech Hack Exposes Parents and Children
The Hong Kong-based toy manufacturer VTech has been hacked, with the personal details of up to 5 million people having been stolen from its servers.
According to Motherboard, images of parents and children, and chat logs between them, were also accessed during the hack. The personal details stolen include names, email addresses, home addresses, and passwords.
The reporter of the Vtech stuff is @lorenzoFB. He works for VICE so you know he's been in cyberwar zones tracking cyberterrorists and stuff.
— SecuriTay (@SwiftOnSecurity) November 30, 2015
The hack occurred on November 14, and the company announced what had happened on Friday (Nov. 27). After conducting an investigation, VTech publicly revealed some details of the hack, but the hacker has revealed more since, detailing how they used an SQL injection to gain root access to the VTech servers.
In light of the severity of this breach, VTech has suspended its Learning Lodge app store, and various websites associated with it. The company has also reached out to everybody on the affected database warning them their details may have been exposed.
Fortunately, no payment information was stored on the breached servers, which should provide some comfort to those affected. Not that having your children’s right to privacy taken away from them is anything to celebrate.
Apple to Kill the Headphone Jack?
Apple is thought to be planning to remove the headphone jack from the next iPhone. According to Japanese blog Macotakara, the company wants to get rid of the headphone jack in order to make the new iPhone thinner and lighter.
If true, this would make the Lightning port the only option for those using wired headphones. Which is still the majority of people. Thankfully, Apple has a solution… shipping EarPods that connect through the Lightning port. Oh.
This is bad news. Apple EarPods are widely regarded as being uncomfortable to wear, and they offer poor sound quality when compared to better brands and models. So forcing people to use EarPods (or other Lightning headphones) is bound to cause consternation.
Apple appears to have an ideological obsession with removing any unnecessary elements from its products. But it’s getting to the point when this ideology is adversely affecting its customers . In other words, removing the headphone jack would make the iPhone worse, not better.
Christmas Lights Slow Down Your Wi-Fi
Ofcom, the British communications regulator, has a warning for you… those Christmas lights you’re so lovingly draping from every corner of your house can slow down your Wi-Fi.
This warning came as Ofcom released an app that checks how your wireless Internet connection is flowing around your home. And it claims that anything from baby monitors to microwave ovens can adversely affect the quality of signal.
This may well be the case, but very few people are going to ditch their microwave, trash their Christmas lights, or opt not to hear their baby sleeping in order to be able to read Reddit in bed. So, Ofcom, thanks for the warning, but we’ll take our chances.
Snapchat Selfies Raise Money for Charity
Today is World AIDS Day, designed to show support and raise money for people living with HIV and AIDS. To mark the occasion, Snapchat is offering three new (RED) photo filters, (RED) being the AIDS charity backed by Bono from U2.
For today only, every time a user sends a Snapchat snap taken with one of these (RED) filters, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will donate $3 to (RED), up to a maximum of $3 million. Which equates to 1 million users in the space of 24 hours. We can do that, can’t we?
Celebrating The Star Wars Holiday Special
And finally, The Star Wars Holiday Special is legendary at this point in time. Mostly for its awfulness, with a terrible plot, crappy special effects, and some of the worst acting ever shown on TV. However, perhaps it’s time to celebrate The Star Wars Holiday Special.
This trailer is a good starting point, as it’s a mashup of The Star Wars Holiday Special and the trailer for The Force Awakens. It’s not quite enough to tempt me to sit through the whole thing, but I guess it gives me an option if I get really bored over Christmas. [H/T CNET]
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
How do you feel about the VTech hack? Are you for or against Apple removing the headphone jack? Are you surprised that Christmas lights can slow down your Wi-Fi? Will you be sending a Snapchat selfie today? Have you ever watched The Star Wars Holiday Special?
Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.
Image Credits: Tom Page via Flickr